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Funding Information

Doctoral Financial Support

All students admitted into the doctoral programs (DMA in composition, PhD in computer based music theory and acoustics (CBMTA), and PhD in musicology) will be awarded funding programs as described below. [N.B. Figures provided are for academic year 2014-15; they usually increase modestly each year.]

Year I: full tuition (11-18 units/qtr.) x 3 quarters ($44,184) & fellowship stipend ($25,626).

Years II—V: 8-10 units of tuition x 3 quarters ($28,710) & salaried assistantship ($26,568 for TA; $25,626 for RA).

[N.B. Doctoral students are expected to transition to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status in winter quarter of year IV upon successful completion of 135 graduate-level units. Tuition paid in the winter and spring quarters of year IV, and in all of year V, will be at the TGR rate.]

TWO summers during your graduate career of 8-10 units of tuition ($9,250), and an RA salary $6,833 (representing the shorter, 8-week summer session).

[N.B. Summer funding support is timed to precede expected Qualifying and Special Area examination dates — fall or winter quarters of years II and IV for PhD/CBMTA and DMA and in the fall of years III and IV for PhDs in musicology.]

Individual Cardinal Care Health Insurance Premiums will be covered during all 4 quarters of all 5 years.

Important Funding Considerations

In addition to Stanford support, students usually need to have additional funding from outside grants/fellowships, long-term loans, savings, liquid assets, a spouse’s earnings, or parental support. For additional information and resources see Stanford University Financial Aid, Graduate Basics.

In the Department of Music, students entering with a Master’s degree officially receive four years plus two summers of aid; those entering directly from a Bachelor’s get five years plus two summers. At the discretion of the faculty (through the Graduate Studies Committee), students entering with a Master’s with academic need may be given a full five years of support.


Assistantships in years II–V may be either Teaching or Research, determined according to departmental need. Students are expected to arrive at Stanford with the ability to serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in any of the Department’s undergraduate core music theory and analysis classes.

To assess theoretical, aural, and keyboard core competencies, admitted doctoral students are given a diagnostic exam of musical skills necessary for fluent engagement with the graduate and undergraduate curricula in the week prior to the start of classes in the first year. Successful completion of this exam is a mark of 80% or better (equivalent to a “B” and equal to the level of competency required for counting coursework toward the degree).

Time to Degree and Additional Funding Sources

The average time to complete a doctoral degree is 5 years for the DMA and the PhD in Computer-Based Theory and Acoustics and 6-7 years for the PhD in Musicology. Graduate students are expected to enroll in 15–18 units per quarter during the first year, and for 10 units each quarter in subsequent years, in order to achieve Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status by the end of their first quarter of the fourth year and to attain their degree as soon as possible.

After the aid detailed above is completed, and once students are on a reduced-registration status, tuition is assessed at the TGR rate per quarter. Students entering with a Master’s degree are expected to enter TGR status [by transferring residency credits from their Master’s] as soon as possible, even if that occurs before the third year of aid is completed. At the end of the five-years-plus-two-summers financial-aid period, students are self-supporting: many apply for fellowships from interior [Stanford] or exterior sources, or work part-time, while writing their dissertations.

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